Lateral with Tom Scott

Comedy panel game podcast about weird questions with wonderful answers, hosted by Tom Scott.

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Episode 59: The player on both teams

Published 24th November, 2023

Corry Will, Luke Cutforth and Jack Chesher face questions about designer drinks, basketball business and festival flyers.

HOST: Tom Scott. QUESTION PRODUCER: David Bodycombe. RECORDED AT: The Podcast Studios, Dublin. EDITED BY: Julie Hassett. MUSIC: Karl-Ola Kjellholm ('Private Detective'/'Agrumes', courtesy of epidemicsound.com). ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS: Scott, Jagannath, Yonatan, Escuro, Truman, Andew Rothe. FORMAT: Pad 26 Limited/Labyrinth Games Ltd. EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: David Bodycombe and Tom Scott.

Transcript

Transcription by Caption+

Tom:What was invented in 1965 to cure the heat exhaustion of the University of Florida's football team?

The answer to that at the end of the show. My name's Tom Scott, and this is Lateral.

Welcome to the show. Before we start, let me give you the answers to last week's listener questions.

They were: the Popcorn Rebellion of 1674, they smelt like daffodils, and it's illegal in Queensland. So, well done if you got those at home.

Joining me to solve some freshly-minted questions, we start with, from the Sci Guys podcast, Luke Cutforth.
Luke:Hello!
Tom:Welcome back to the show. When we have returning players, one of the things I like to ask is, what will you be working on now that will be out and ready by the time the audience hear this? What's in your future right now, but their past?
Luke:God, absolutely nothing, Tom. I make films now. They take about five years each. So it depends how long it takes you to edit your podcast.
SFX:(group laughing)
Luke:But some episodes of Sci Guys, – my podcast which I run with Corry – those will be out.
Tom:And that gives me a perfect segue to the other half of the Sci Guys podcast, Corry Will.
Corry:Hello, Luke is correct. There may well be some Sci Guys episodes coming out in the future.
SFX:(group snickering)
Tom:I mean, any topics, any ideas?
Corry:I don't plan that far in the future, Tom. Some kind of science, I think, you know? Maybe psychology. We'll go with that!
Tom:Also joining the panel for this week's show, we have, from Living London History, Jack Chesher. How are you doing?
Jack:I'm very well, thanks, Tom. How are you?
Tom:I'm doing good. This is your second time on. How was the first appearance on the show?
Jack:It was good, yeah. I had a really good time. (chuckles) I love the kind of initial, I don't know. You get the question. You just never think you're gonna get to the answer. You know, it's so obscure. But you get there in the end. So yeah, I'm ready and raring this time.
Tom:And what are you working on at the minute? What can people expect from Living London History and everything you publish?
Jack:Oh, good question. Well, I always write a weekly blog post on my website. It goes out to my newsletter followers. And I've got some quite cool ones coming up. One on the Foreign Office building. I had a sort of exclusive tour around there recently. What did I do literally yesterday? Goldsmiths' Hall in the City of London. Had a little look around there, so yeah. Some insights into some cool places in London.
Tom:Well, good luck to all three of you with this week's questions. Our guests are about to take conventional logic and make it do timeout in the naughty corner. So I'll start you off with this.

Thank you to Escuro for sending this question in.

The publication Alpine Journal once noted that – at a listed elevation of 7,830 metres – the Descartes Highlands had finally been conquered by the American pair of Young and Duke in 1972. The approaches are basic, with no cliffs, gorges, or glaciers nearby. What caused the delay?

I'll say that again.

The publication Alpine Journal once noted that – at a listed elevation of 7,830 metres – the Descartes Highlands had finally been conquered by the American pair of Young and Duke in 1972. The approaches are basic, with no cliffs, gorges or glaciers nearby. What caused the delay?
Jack:I'm thinking weather initially. But perhaps that comes in under the, sort of... your description of it not actually being that difficult in terms of terrain.
Corry:It was a bit rainy, and they thought they wouldn't bother.
Jack:(laughs) Yeah, exactly.
Corry:"Ah, not doing it, not doing it."
Jack:Everyone forgets to bring their umbrella.
Corry:(laughs)
Luke:They just didn't get around to it?
Jack:Is it something to do with where the territory is? It's kind of disputed territory maybe, and people can't go there. It's disputed between two countries. That's what I'm thinking.
Luke:Is it that— Is it that no— every— They all thought it had already been conquered? This is one of these weird things where there's some official thing, which means that until you do this, it's not officially conquered. But they never actually got— They never thought to do it because they— Everybody had access to this place anyway, that kind of thing. I'll take Tom's silence as a no. (muted laugh)
Jack:(chuckles)
Corry:Was it left off of maps or something? They just didn't know that it was there. They were like, "Oh, this, this is here." I have no idea what we're talking about, by the way. Geography, history. No clue.
SFX:(guests laugh)
Tom:I love it when all three people come in with completely different suggestions at the start.

So, Jack, kind of disputed territory, difficult to get there.

Luke, just too easy to get there. It had already been conquered, surely, and no one had done it.

And Corry, it just wasn't charted. It just wasn't on the maps until then.

Of the three of you, Jack is the closest. It was very difficult to get to, but it wasn't disputed.
Luke:Was it underwater?
Jack:At a height of 7,800 metres.
SFX:(group laughing)
Corry:It depends where you measure from, you see. If that's from sea level, then...
Luke:It's from the centre of the earth.
Corry:But it's from 7— (laughs heartily)
Luke:Yes, pay attention to the question, Luke.
Jack:Is that particularly high? That's not particularly high, 7,830 metres.
Corry:That's quite high.
Tom:That's sort of 21–22 thousand feet. That's a very, very high mountain.
Luke:Oh, is it that there used to be some sort of level above which something was considered international territory. And so, and then they moved that level, and now suddenly you were able to conquer an area which was previously a neutral zone?
Tom:That is a lot closer than you might think.
Luke:Sort of like how there are some houses where you don't own the ground underneath your house. So if there's oil found there, the king or some random duke owns the oil, and then you might not own the sort of sky above your house. So something in that area. A legal change meant that this area was able to be conquered.
Corry:Like some kind of military base or something. The army was using it for some reason, and so it was dangerous to go there.
Luke:Did the top get chopped off, and it now was lower, and that put it in some kind of legal zone, some area? So if it wasn't a legal change to the line, it was a change to the height.
Jack:Was it, yeah, a physical change to the mountain?
Tom:The mountain didn't change, but you're right that this couldn't have been conquered before about 1972, around that time.
Luke:There was some kind of collapse, like the tectonic plates underneath the earth sort of dropped down a bit, and now the whole thing was up for grabs.
Tom:No, the terrain was so flat, you could actually just drive there.
Corry:So it wasn't that nothing— It wasn't that something was underwater then, and that water just kind of went?
Tom:Definitely not.
Jack:I was thinking a bit of the mountain sort of broke off that made it impossible to climb up previously.
Luke:Is there something strange about, for example, the whole thing used to be covered in something. And then that thing died or melted if it was ice. And there's something about how you can't own— For example, you can't own Antarctica, right? There's some legal treaty that's like, you can't own Antarctica. So something changed about the terrain, which means it was allowed to be owned now. It was protected in some way before. And then global warming. (laughs)
Tom:Before the 1960s, then, I guess, yes, this would have been a disputed territory. There were some treaties put in place in the '60s that kind of settled that. No one could claim this.
Jack:But was it Antarctica?
Tom:No...
Jack:Because they sort of split it into...
Tom:No, but it's very inaccessible.
Corry:Is this in space? Is this on the Moon and not on Earth? Is that what—
Tom:Yeah, it's on—
SFX:(group laughing)
Corry:Is that what they're saying?
Tom:Yeah, I had to be very careful about the clues there, didn't I? The American pair of Young and Duke in 1972.
Luke:Did Young and Duke go on that website that's like buythemoon.com, and they bought a bunch of the Moon and they were like, "Right, it's conquered now!"
Tom:Yeah, that is where Orion, the module from Apollo 16 landed. And that was John Young and Charles Duke who were on that mission in 1972. And I had to be really careful about sea level. The measurement is from the Moon's kind of average radius, and the heights taken from there.
Jack:Very good.
Tom:So, yes. The Alpine Journal noted, mostly as a joke, that the Descartes Highlands had finally been conquered in 1972 because they were on the Moon.

Alright, over to our first guest question. Let's go to Jack.
Jack:Okay. So my question has been sent in by Yonatan, and the question is:

Whenever Kevin attends a wedding disco, he goes up to one of the people running the event, slips them $20, and whispers a request in their ear. At the end of the evening, Kevin leaves happily, even though the request wasn't done. Why?

Whenever Kevin attends a wedding disco, he goes up to one of the people running the event, slips them $20, and whispers a request in their ear. At the end of the evening, Kevin leaves happily, even though the request wasn't done. Why?
Tom:How often does Kevin attend wedding discos?
SFX:(scattered snickering)
Corry:Very often.
Tom:This is a hobby!
Corry:Slips him a $20, says, "Don't play Mr. Brightside", they do play Mr. Brightside, and he loves it anyway, 'cause it's a wedding banger, innit?
Luke:Does Kevin hate himself?
Tom:(chuckles)
Corry:(laughs hysterically)
Luke:He requests something in order to be sad, and he leaves happy because he hates himself.
Tom:I'm just assuming that he goes up to the DJ and says, "Here is $20. Shut up." But it would take more than $20 to make a wedding DJ shut up, so...
Jack:(laughs)
Luke:But then he leaves happy.
Jack:He leaves happy the request wasn't done.
Corry:So he obviously doesn't care about the request. Or he does. Or he's ambivalent.
Jack:(snorts)
Tom:He's trying to break up the marriage. He goes to the bride and says, "Here's $20, give us a kiss." And it doesn't happen, and the marriage is safe!
Corry:Oh, it's a test! That's it! He's a professional wedding tester.
SFX:(group laughing)
Jack:$20 is all it takes.
Corry:I did that at your wedding actually, Luke. You know?
Jack:Did you?
Corry:Just before the vows.
SFX:(group laughs uproariously)
Corry:Yeah!
Tom:This was specifically at the wedding disco, right? The party afterwards.
Jack:At the wedding disco, yeah.
Tom:Okay, which is a really British reference by the way.
SFX:(Tom and Jack snicker)
Corry:Oh yeah. I recently found out, and this might not be true, but apparently Americans don't have evening guests, and their weddings don't start as early as ours. They're just... They're much later in the day, and if you invite someone to the ceremony, they have to be at the sort of reception, and vice versa.
Tom:I've been to one American wedding, and that would match. Yeah, that would match. But also, it was a great wedding, because... there was no big set of speeches or anything like that. There's a few words said afterwards, but there was just an open buffet and open seating, and after three hours, that's it, show's over, we're going home. There is no drunk uncle getting in a fight at two in the morning. There's no kid getting tired and screaming. Great plan, love it.
Corry:But those are the best parts of weddings(!) So he pays $20. I assume that the value itself isn't significant.
Jack:No, the value is not significant.
Corry:Right.
Luke:I really like Tom's framework though, basically of the request being a kind of test. And the intention behind the request is to find out whether the request is granted. I think that is potentially a good bit of lateral thinking there. Jack's silence tells me I'm wrong.
Jack:(laughs) Yeah, no, that is wrong, I'm afraid.
Luke:(laughs uproariously)
Corry:Maybe it's something like the request is... The request is, don't fulfill my request, and so... No, never mind.
Tom:It's a logical paradox.
Jack:That is more along the right line. So his request was for something. In a way, his request was granted because his request was for something not to happen.
Tom:Oh, then it's definitely going to the DJ and telling them to shut up. 100%.
SFX:(group snickers)
Jack:He did go to the DJ, yeah.
Luke:Does Kevin live near a wedding venue, and he goes and slips a $20 to someone to say basically "Can you shut this down by 11 because I'm fed up of living next to a wedding venue." And they're— Oh, I don't know how that works with the end bit of him being happy though.
Tom:(chuckles)
Luke:God, okay. But Jack's— okay. So wait, let me just check with you, Jack. Basically, what you're saying is he requests for something to not happen. And then it doesn't happen, and he's happy about that?
Jack:Yes, so actually, his request is...
Luke:Is granted, sort of, yes.
Jack:But it's for something not to happen, yeah.
Luke:Okay, so I would say, well... maybe it's like, I request that this wedding doesn't go on past 11 'cause I live next door and I don't want it to. And here's $20. I feel like that would be a valid answer to the question, even if it's wrong. (laughs)
Tom:What's the worst wedding tradition? What is he trying to stop?
Luke:The best man sleeping with the maid of honour.
SFX:(Tom and Corry laugh)
Tom:That's very specific, Luke. That's very specific.
Corry:Wait, did that happen at your wedding?
Luke:(laughs) My best man did not sleep with a maid of honour. No, he didn't. No, just, no, stop.
SFX:(group laughing)
Jack:You're right with the DJ. You're right with the DJ.
Corry:So, at weddings, DJs generally play music and little else, so...
Jack:Correct.
Corry:So is it a request to not play a song? Because that's all that DJs do.
Jack:It is.
Corry:Okay.
Jack:Yeah, it's a request to not play a specific song. And the name of the person is relevant in this question.
Tom:Kevin.
Luke:Kevin.
Corry:Kevin. I can't think of a single song that has the name Kevin in it.
Tom:Or that's been created by someone called Kevin.
Luke:There are a lot of famous Kevins.
Corry:No, Luke. Luke, no. Yeah, there's one— There's a bad famous Kevin. No, Luke!
Luke:(wheezes)
Tom:(laughs)
Corry:Kevin Bacon. Is it to do with bacon? Thinking laterally. There we go.
Jack:No, less lateral now.
SFX:(both laugh)
Jack:More literal. But you're right with Kevin Bacon.
Luke:Why do I not know?
Tom:Oh, don't play Footloose.
Jack:Exactly. (laughs)
Corry:Oh. (laughs)
Jack:He goes up to the DJ, pays him $20 at wedding discos to make sure that Footloose does not get played. 'Cause it's too embarrassing. Too awkward. Everybody looks at him.
Luke:And this is a true story?
Jack:So yes, this is something that he said in interviews that he does at wedding discos.
SFX:(Tom and Jack chuckle)
Corry:He's so cheap, though, seriously.
Luke:I would go up to the wedding disco, if I was at a wedding with Kevin Bacon. I'd go up to them and offer them $30 to play it every hour.
Jack:Yeah.
SFX:(group laughing)
Corry:Just a bidding war on the DJ.
Tom:Thank you to Truman for sending this question in.

In 1978, NBA player Eric Money became the first person to officially score for both teams – the New Jersey Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers – in the same game. His 41 points, earned over 65 minutes of play, contributed 23 to the Nets' score and 4 to the 76ers. What happened?

I'll say that again.

In 1978, NBA player Eric Money became the first person to officially score for both teams – the New Jersey Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers – in the same game. His 41 points, earned over 65 minutes of play, contributed 23 to the Nets' score and 4 to the 76ers. What happened?
Corry:Did he just switch teams in the middle? They had a sale going through, and then, "Oh, it's gone through. Swap teams now." There you go.
Luke:Well, I wonder if he was on loan. Oh, it was on loan to the New Jersey Nets. 'Cause you know, we do loan out players in football. And then the contract expired halfway through the game, changed teams.
Tom:You're basically right.
Corry:Oh my god.
Luke:Oh god, I'm so sorry.
SFX:(guests laugh)
Tom:No, no, you've got most of the difficult parts there. He was transferred to the 76ers in a player swap deal that kicked in halfway through the game. Or more accurately, about... three quarters, however long through the game, near the end. But why did that happen then?
Jack:Was he— He wasn't loaned for a certain amount of time, or until he gets a certain amount of points for that team possibly, and he hit the sort of target. He'd hit the limit.
Tom:Not in this case.
Luke:Was it because of the Y2K computer error, and it just switched teams...
Corry:(laughs)
Luke:as the clock struck midnight on year 2000.
Corry:Which as all basketball games are played, you know, right up 'til midnight on New Year's Eve.
SFX:(both laughing)
Tom:This was in 1978, but unfortunately, even if the scoring was completely manual, this would've worked the same way.
Luke:Okay, I got a quick question. You said that there were 41 points total, and it contributed 23 to the Nets' score and 4 to the Phillies. What happened to the rest of the points?
Tom:That is a really good question, Luke, and that is a big clue to what happened to make this possible.
Luke:Okay, so we've got 14 points missing.
Jack:I don't know anything about this sport. But if you do something, you end up losing points, and he got kicked off that team.
Corry:Ohh!
Jack:He'd got a couple of yellow cards' equivalent.
Luke:Yeah. Yeah.
Corry:(laughs)
Jack:Got sent off of one team. That was the end of the load. He got brought on by the other team, and he got points disqualified because of that?
Tom:It wasn't his errors that caused this.
Jack:Somebody else's errors.
Corry:So it wasn't free throws or something, because it was his points that were lost.
Tom:A lot of points were lost.
Luke:So I'm guessing that they— One side, one team, committed so many fouls that loads of their players had to leave the pitch. And they didn't have enough players to even carry on the game. And so one side said, we'll loan you Eric Money. And then he played for the other side because they had no players left.
Tom:Not quite. I think something like that's happened in ice hockey. 'Cause you have a goalie and a reserve goalie. And then if both of those are unable to play, then the stadium has to provide an additional reserve goalie.
Jack:(laughs heartily)
Tom:And someone has come in to just.. help out with that for a little while, which has happened a couple of times. Not in this case. Actually, the error wasn't on either of the teams.
Corry:Oh, was it the person that was counting the scores? They counted it wrong?
Tom:Not quite. There's one other person on that court.
Corry:The referee.
Luke:The referee.
Tom:The referee.
Corry:The referee?
Tom:The referee made so many errors, that what happened?
Corry:That the referee was sent off.
SFX:(group laughing)
Corry:Replaced with another referee.
Luke:And the stadium had to provide a referee. Okay, so the referee missed so many points, that... Oh god.
Tom:What could be the cause of enough time going by that a player gets traded?
Corry:Oh, was the game delayed then? To the following day or something?
Luke:It's a different day!
Corry:And that was the end of— Oh!
Luke:Ah, brilliant!
Tom:I'll take that, yep. The referee made so many errors towards the end of the match that the league ordered that the last 17 minutes of the game be struck and replayed at a later date.
Luke:(laughs)
Tom:By which point, Eric Money had been traded over to the other team and had to play for them for the last 17 minutes.
Corry:That is wild. And also really frustrating! (laughs)
Tom:So yeah, that's where the 14 points went. They were wiped from the board, and then he came back to play for the other team, because the rosters had changed.
Luke:Fantastic.
Corry:That just feels like undoing your own work there, you know?
Tom:Yeah!
Corry:You're just undoing your own work. Like Sisyphus for basketball.
Jack:Yeah.
SFX:(group laughing)
Tom:Corry, next question's from you. Take it away.
Corry:This question has been sent in by Scott.

Before takeoff, a Boeing 787 flying from Newcastle, England to Cancún, Mexico was told to divert via Glasgow due to weather in Newcastle. Why?

I'll say that for you again.

Before takeoff, a Boeing 787 flying from Newcastle, England to Cancún, Mexico was told to divert via Glasgow due to weather in Newcastle. Why?
Tom:Can you imagine how much of a party plane that must have been? You're flying from Newcastle to Cancún.
SFX:(Jack and Corry laugh)
Tom:That's the worst... It's a very long flight. It's a long flight with a lot of people from Newcastle going on holidays.
Jack:Stag dos, yeah.
Tom:I've been through the Bigg Market in Newcastle at one in the morning. It's rough. It's gonna be a lot.
Corry:(laughs)
Tom:I'd apologise to Newcastle, but... I've been through the Bigg Market.
Luke:Now, I'm no geography expert, but I'm pretty sure Cancún is south from Newcastle. So why is it going up to Glasgow? Is the wind— The weather is so windy that the whole Boeing 787 is blown north towards Glasgow, and it just has to land?
Corry:(cackles) Yes, those strong winds that you get from Newcastle. Strong enough to blow a plane all the way to Glasgow.
SFX:(group snickers)
Luke:Did it fly the wrong way because of incredibly bad weather?
Jack:Flew backwards. (snickers)
Tom:It was weather in Newcastle, right, that caused the problem?
Jack:So a very sort of localised weather problem.
Corry:It was, yeah. It was the weather in Newcastle that was the issue. And Luke, you're right. They did fly the wrong way because of the weather.
Jack:So they couldn't go south. They had to go north. Because to the south of the airport, there was a storm, and they wanted to get out to the...
SFX:(Corry and Luke snicker)
Corry:So, it's less about... Hold on, let me think about how to respond to that. No. Does that work?
SFX:(group laughs uproariously)
Jack:That'll do.
Tom:I love it when this is the opposite of an improv show sometimes, where it's just like,
Luke:"No!"
Tom:"No, not that." Okay, okay.
Luke:Corry, can I just check. When you say they flew the wrong way, did they fly the wrong way accidentally? Completely stupidly, they were like, "Oh, I thought we were going south." Or did they fly the wrong way deliberately because of the weather?
Tom:No, they were instructed, right?
Luke:Okay.
Corry:Yeah.
Tom:They were instructed to divert.
Corry:They were told to go this way. This was entirely intentional.
Tom:Okay, so if the weather in Newcastle is really bad, and it's like cold, freezing rain... I'm not sure Newcastle Airport, which is pretty small, would have de-icing equipment. So I'm thinking that the weather was so bad that ice was starting to build up, and they...

As I say this, it makes no sense. They just wouldn't be able to take off. But Glasgow might have de-icing equipment. Glasgow had some equipment that let them do the long-haul flight... that Newcastle didn't have. And it's probably not de-icing, but something like that.
Corry:Tom, you are so close. You even touched on it. Just brushed up against it. Yes, totally right vibe.
Tom:Okay. Glasgow's got equipment to deal with this. Newcastle hasn't, 'cause it's too small an airport. And that is the closest diversionary airport that can deal with it.
Corry:Perhaps facility would be better than equip—
Luke:Hotels! There aren't enough hotels to house all of the guests.
Tom:Booze! There isn't enough booze on board! I'm just slagging Newcastle off.
SFX:(guests laugh uproariously)
Tom:I'm just really... I've been to Newcastle a couple of times in my life, and like I say... It was an experience.
SFX:(Corry and Jack laugh)
Jack:They have to get everyone drunk.
Corry:Really offending all the Geordies on this one.
Luke:Corry, is there not a hangar in Glasgow that is big enough to house a Boeing 787? Sorry, in Newcastle?
Corry:So it's not about housing. It's more about...
Luke:Steps! There's no steps that can reach the plane!
Corry:(laughs) It's not about reaching the plane. It's about the plane itself. There is a facility...
Luke:A runway.
Jack:Yeah, something to do with the length of the runways, maybe?
Corry:Yes.
Tom:Hold on. There's a flight that used to run... Non-stop, it was called, from London City Airport to New York. And London City's the tiny airport that's just in the Docklands near the city centre. And it wasn't non-stop, 'cause that plane had to land on the west coast of Ireland. And that's where you went through immigration pre-clearance. Because it couldn't take off with enough fuel, 'cause the runway's too short. It had to...
SFX:(guests murmur)
Tom:So it had to go over to Shannon, where there's a massive runway, get a full load of fuel there, and then do the run to New York. So, is it that the weather was bad in some way, that it couldn't have enough fuel to make it to Cancún... and take off safely on the short runway at Newcastle, so it had to go to Glasgow to fill up?
Corry:That is spot on. Yeah, absolutely.
Tom:What was the weather?
Luke:(applauds)
Tom:High pressure? Cold? There's gotta be some reason for that.
Corry:I mean, I could just give it to you here. I mean, it was low pressure. And so the issue was that, you know, the plane couldn't take off with enough fuel from the short runway at Newcastle. So they had to fly to Glasgow because they could take off with enough fuel to get to Glasgow. Glasgow has a longer runway, so they could fuel up, have enough fuel to make the direct flight to Cancún from the Glasgow Airport. But not from Newcastle.
Luke:Imagine having to explain that to a Boeing 787 full of drunk people ready to go to Cancún.
SFX:(group laughing)
Corry:"The runway is too short to take off. So we're going to fly to Glasgow, where there's a long enough runway."
Jack:I need you all to think laterally about this.
SFX:(laughter intensifies)
Tom:It's gonna turn out that this was a Catholic pilgrimage flight or something, and I've been just deeply inappropriate all the way through this.
Luke:I mean, I've been to Cancún, Tom. There's a lot of parties going on in Cancún.
Tom:Thank you to Andrew Rothe for sending this one in.

In the mid 1960s, the creator of a new TV series wanted to earn extra money in case the show flopped. He quickly wrote something that was never broadcast, nor did he expect it to be broadcast. Yet it ensured that he received a steady income stream for decades. What did he write?

I'll say that one more time.

In the mid 1960s, the creator of a new TV series wanted to earn extra money in case the show flopped. He quickly wrote something that was never broadcast, nor did he expect it to be broadcast. Yet it ensured that he received a steady income stream for decades. What did he write?
Corry:So my immediate thought is residual, right? That's the way that you make money in writing or acting on TV is when it goes into syndication, you get money after the fact. So is it maybe something to do with that? He wanted a writer's credit.
Tom:It's residuals and royalties, yeah, you're spot on.
Luke:Yeah, one thing I happen to know about the film and TV world... is that there are some— There's a TV writer who got his son to write the theme tune to something. And then the son ended up earning way more money than the dad ever did from writing. Because the theme tune was used so much, and the royalties for the theme tune are so fantastic that the son earned loads more money than the dad.
Tom:Yeah, you're thinking of M*A*S*H there. The theme tune is called Suicide is Painless. And he got his son to write it, and the son ended up having a hit on the charts with that and continues to earn a lot of money to this day. You're very much in the right area here.
Luke:Okay.
Jack:So how do you make royalties from something that's never broadcast, though?
Luke:Ooh.
Jack:Does it– Is it, so— You're sort of retaining the rights to something?
Corry:Oh, is it because you write something, and because you've got the intellectual property from that, whatever they build off of that, they still have to pay you because you own some of it in some way? No? It's lyrics.
Tom:Yes.
Corry:Oh my gosh. Hold on. No, no, no. I know it! Oh...
Jack:Yes, yes.
Corry:Oh my gosh. I think I've got this. Sorry. Did someone write lyrics for a lyric-less sort of intro, like The Addams Family or something?
Jack:Great.
Corry:And...
Tom:Yep.
Corry:Oh wait. There are lyrics to that. They wrote lyrics for the intro song, and... you got residuals from that, because those lyrics exist, even though they're not broadcast.
Tom:You've nailed everything except the name of the show. You've absolutely got it. He thought the show was gonna flop. So, in what is, frankly, just an incredible dick move, took the theme tune that had already been written, wrote some lyrics to it very quickly, and proceeded to claim, I think, half the royalties in perpetuity.
Corry:I feel like I've heard of this before. I feel like I know the name of this show.
Tom:You definitely know the name of this show.
Corry:Is it I Love Lucy or something, or... Oh, gosh.
Tom:It was the same studio, and Lucille Ball was one of the people who was producing this.
Corry:Oh no!
SFX:(Jack and Corry wheeze)
Corry:Gosh!
Tom:The composer actually said this was legal but unethical. His name was Alexander Courage.
Corry:It's right here.
Tom:It is.
Jack:Mid 1960s.
Luke:Batman.
Corry:The Dick Van Dyke Show wasn't the—
Luke:He wrote "Na-na-na-na Na-na-na-na Na-na-na-na Na-na-na-na."
SFX:(others laugh)
Luke:"Batman."
SFX:(Luke and Corry giggle)
Corry:Oh dear, '60s shows... that Lucille Ball was in?
Tom:No, she wasn't in it, but she... It was her studio. It was Desilu Studios, and her...
Corry:Okay.
Tom:And she was one of the backers of it.
Corry:Right. '60 shows. I think I've exhausted... I wasn't alive then, you see. So I think I've exhausted all of my...
Tom:It's still going, there are still spinoffs and sequels being made right now.
Corry:Oh, it's not Doctor Who or something? No, that would be...
Luke:Coronation Street. ♪ These are my lyrics for the song ♪ ♪ Pay me lots of money ♪
SFX:(Tom and Jack laugh)
Tom:You know there was actually lyrics to the EastEnders theme once. Someone did that.
Luke:Really?
Tom:Someone actually released a pop song based on the EastEnders theme, and it's called Anyone Can Fall in Love. And it's not good.
SFX:(guests laughing)
Corry:What a surprise! That's a shocker. So this is an American show from the '60s?
Tom:American show from the '60s. I'll give you the name. Gene Roddenberry was the writer of the lyrics.
Luke:Oh, Star Trek. No?
Tom:There we go, yep. Lyrics to the Star Trek theme.
Corry:I know this! Yes!
SFX:(group laughing)
Tom:For copyright reasons, I can't give you the whole lyrics, but they do start with:

"Beyond the rim of the star-light

My love is wand'ring in star-flight."

They're not good. They're really not good. But he got 50% of the royalties for writing them.
Jack:Which, you'd have to pay him some royalties, presumably, if you read the whole thing.
Corry:Did William Shatner not do... He'd done a performance of this or something. I know he's done Rocket Man and stuff.
Tom:Not to my knowledge? It's very much from a woman's perspective of seeing their lover off amongst the stars. And I suspect that wouldn't really be Shatner's oeuvre there.
Corry:(laughs) True.
Tom:But yes, that was Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, who wrote lyrics in order to get some music royalties in case the show flopped.

Luke, over to you for this one.
Luke:Alright, so my question was sent in by Jagernaut. It is:

Despite a strict ban on leaflets, Lifebuoy Soap were able to deliver a timely advertising message directly into the hands of 2.5 million people during the 2013 Kumbh Mela gathering. How did they do it, and what did the advert ask?

I'll give you that once more.

Despite a strict ban on leaflets, Lifebuoy Soap were able to deliver a timely advertising message directly into the hands of 2.5 million people during the 2013 Kumbh Mela gathering. How did they do it, and what did the advert ask?
Jack:A timely... That... The 'timely' bit I think there is important, isn't it? They were giving out something... They're a soap company.
Luke:They are a soap— Lifebuoy Soap is a soap company.
Corry:Was it perhaps a sundial or something? Using the sun and shadows. And so that's timely. (cracks up) Because it was a specific time of day?
Tom:I'm presuming there's a ban on leaflets because otherwise everyone would just be handing out huge amounts of advertising to everyone attending... What was the name of the gathering again?
Luke:It was called the Kumbh Mela gathering. And yes, during this gathering, basically, there is a ban on billboards and pamphlets.
Corry:So was it napkins? They were giving out napkins, and they were like, wouldn't you rather wash your hands with some soap, rather than using a napkin to wipe them?
Luke:What a catchy advertising phrase there, Corry.
SFX:(group laughing)
Corry:Thank you.
Jack:They were giving out some sort of freebie that had a marketing message on it when everyone needed to, yeah, wash their hands at the same time. Is that along the right lines?
Luke:You know, you're in the right sort of area. I'm gonna bring your question down there. This is something that's given out. So it's sort of a promotional item. And you might be vaguely likely to at least hopefully, wash your hands around the time that you are using this thing. And there was a little tiny clue in there too.
Jack:Oh, was it— it's giving something out that means people go to the toilet? and they'll need to wash their hands?
Corry:Water bottles... gonna make you need to pee!
Jack:Yeah, that's what I'm thinking, yeah. And then everyone sees the soap in the toilet, you know. No, that's completely wrong.
Luke:No, no.
Tom:Just a diuretic. Just a diuretic pill just to make sure.
SFX:(Corry and Luke laugh)
Corry:Diuretic and a laxative, there you go.
SFX:(group laughing)
Luke:You're moving swiftly away from the answer. I can tell you that.
SFX:(group laughing)
Jack:It's not one of those festivals— There's obviously the festivals where you throw powder and paints and stuff on each other. You get your hands dirty. They give something out that makes your hands dirty.
Luke:No, it's not. So Kumbh Mela is a religious gathering. It happens every 12 years. And then basically, millions of people are coming into the area. So although advertising is not allowed, it's also quite a good time to be advertising, but I don't know that there's specifically any powder paint bull runs, which is kind of what I think you're getting at.
SFX:(group chuckling)
Tom:That's Holi, that is. That's a whole different thing. Also, I feel like advertisers are not generally great at obeying advertising restrictions, you know? It's kinda something they try and avoid if they can.
Luke:Sure, yeah.
Corry:Is it to do with shaking hands, or does it involve them giving someone something that would encourage them to get their hands dirty... to the point of wanting to clean them?
Luke:No, but I will give you a little clue here. You won't be washing your hands after you use the product. You'll be washing your hands before you use the product.
Corry:Is it a consumable product, like food?
Luke:It is a consumable product. And this is part of why it works so well, because at the end of the advertising campaign, none of the adverts are left.
Corry:Oh!
Jack:'Cause the advert's on the food.
Corry:They've printed out crackers or something.
Tom:I was thinking an ice lolly with the marketing printed on the stick or something like that, but...
Jack:Oh, and it reveals it when it melt— once you— where they used to have jokes on lolly sticks.
Luke:No, because crucially... Crucially, there isn't— The product is not left behind afterwards. So it's not going to be printed on a stick. You were kind of in the right ballpark there when you were saying about it's printed onto the item, although it doesn't use ink. But you know, the advert is on the item.
Corry:Toast. They burn it into a toast.
Luke:Very, very good, Corry.
Corry:Oh, is that it?
Luke:Very good, Corry. You're very, very close to the right area.
Corry:So it's some kind of sandwich or burger or something, and... they imprint the sort of brand that they want on the exterior of the bread, right?
Tom:I've seen that in a couple places. Burger places will have little brands they just burn each bun with to put their logo on it.
Luke:Try and think more about a bread product which is itself the product rather than being part of a large thing.
Tom:What part of the world is this?
Luke:Kumbh Mela is a religious gathering that happens where the Ganges and the Yamuna rivers meet.
Jack:Sort of like a wafery breadstick.
Luke:(snickers)
Tom:It's just on... It's just on the bread that you eat. They've just put the logo onto their bread. Wait, it's called Lifebuoy. Okay, this probably doesn't work for... It's the wrong part of the world, but if you put it on a bagel or a donut... then...
Luke:Yeah?
Tom:If the logo is Lifebuoy, you have the right shape of the bread product.
Luke:Okay, so, Tom, I'm gonna reckon I recommend you go to Lifebuoy and start working in advertising for them, because that's actually better than what they did.
SFX:(Tom and Jack laugh)
Luke:But you are absolutely correct that the messaging is sort of placed onto the product. It is, I think, I mean, to be honest, I think you've basically got it.
Corry:Is it a pretzel?
Luke:No, Tom's basically got it. So think about what—
Tom:Naan, or something like that.
Luke:Yes, Tom!
Tom:They just print— They handed out custom naan breads branded with the company logo, because you want to wash your hands before eating that?
Luke:Okay, Tom, I'm gonna give you it. I think I'll put you out of your misery. You basically got it. You're so close. They stamped: "Did you wash your hands with Lifebuoy?" onto bread rotis.
Corry:Oh!
Tom:Roti, okay, rotis.
Corry:Right, really?
Tom:I picked the wrong Indian bread. Apologies, that was—
Corry:I mean, 'naan' does just mean bread. So really... you weren't wrong.
Luke:(snorts)
Tom:I'll take that.
SFX:(group laughing)
Tom:One last thing to deal with then. At the start of the show, I asked:

What was invented in 1965 to cure the heat exhaustion of the University of Florida's football team?

And I'm aware I'm asking this to three British people, but does anyone want to take a quick guess about that before we go?
Corry:Water.
SFX:(others snicker)
Corry:1965 invented. I'm certain.
Tom:It was a drink.
Corry:Oh, it was Gatorade.
Tom:Oh yeah, it's Gatorade. Absolutely right.
Corry:Gatorade, yeah.
Tom:Why was it Gatorade?
Corry:Why was it Gatorade?
Jack:So the electrolytes in Gatorades and...
Corry:Because they've had a marketing campaign that's convinced many Americans that something loaded with sugar is actually better at hydrating you than water? Is that why? 'Cause it's true.
SFX:(group laughing)
Tom:It's because the Florida Gators are the local football team, but we'll take that as well. That's a valid answer.
SFX:(others jeer, laugh)
Tom:With that, thank you very much to all our players. What's going on? Where can people find you?

We'll start with Luke.
Luke:Yes, you can find me everywhere at @LukeCutforth. And what's going on is I'm currently writing a comedy movie about conspiracy theories. But it will take a while to finish, so... keep watching this space for a very long time.
Tom:So in the meantime, you can find you and Corry, where?
Corry:At Sci Guys, literally everywhere. You can also find me at @NotCorry. Or you can find me at Luke's house. Don't tell him though.
SFX:(group laughing)
Tom:And finally, Jack.
Jack:You can find me at @LivingLondonHistory on social media and on my website as well, livinglondonhistory.com.
Tom:And that's our show for today.

You can find out more about this show and send in your own listener questions at lateralcast.com. You can find video highlights every week at youtube.com/lateralcast, and we are at @lateralcast pretty much everywhere.

Thank you very much to Corry Will.
Corry:Thank you, Tom.
Tom:Luke Cutforth.
Luke:Thanks a lot, Tom.
Tom:And Jack Chesher.
Jack:Thanks, Tom.
Tom:I've been Tom Scott, and that has been Lateral.
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